MALAYSIA, as far as national singles coach Misbun Sidek was concerned, were let down by the singles shuttlers in the 3-1 defeat to Indonesia in the quarter-finals of the Thomas Cup yesterday.


The plan was, according to Misbun, to take points from two singles and a doubles, but while the veteran pair of Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah delivered, the singles cast, led by Wong Choong Hann and Roslin Hashim failed the team.

"Our strategy was to win two points from the singles, the first and the third (Mohamed Hafiz Hashim) and one point from the doubles," said Misbun.

"Unfortunately, Choong Hann failed to get the better of Sony (Dwi Kuncoro) and from then on, we knew it would be an uphill struggle. As such, I'm not surprised with the loss."

Malaysia had the opportunity to win the tie against Indonesia, but the singles challenge fell flat eventhough Tan Fook-Wan Wah played an outstanding match to put Malaysia on level points.

Choong Hann, who was beaten twice in the Sea Games last year by Sony, failed to get past the Indonesia again as he lost the plot midway through the game before losing 15-12, 15-6.

Roslin also failed to get past Taufik Hidayat with another poor display as the reigning Asian champion outplayed and outwitted the Malaysian in all departments.

"I could not field (Lee) Chong Wei because he injured his ankle in his match against Thailand," added Misbun. But we were the underdogs after losing to Indonesia in the 2002 final and in the Sea Games as well."

National doubles coach Yap Kim Hock also was critical of Chew Choon Eng's performance in the second doubles.

Choon Eng, who partnered 19-year-old Koo Kien Keat, failed to provide the cover and guidance so needed, especially during the crucial stages of the match against Flandi Limpele-Eng Hian.

"It was a case where the 19-year-old played better than the 27-year-old," said Kim Hock.

"They were not under any pressure but as I look at it, it was a valuable learning experience for all of them."
NST